DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: March 20-27; Reminder for the week: Life jackets, cold water precautions recommended for spring boating safety

DOVER (March 28, 2013) – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents made 597 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public, including 12 boating safety checks, in which all but one vessel operator was found to be in compliance. Agents also responded to 15 complaints and issued 5 citations between March 20 and 27.

Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:

Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle at excessive speed in a state wildlife area (1), operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway in a state wildlife area (1), and dumping in a state wildlife area (1), New Castle County; Trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area (1), Kent County.

Boating Safety: Insufficient number of life jackets aboard vessel (1), Kent County.

Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Training
Fish and Wildlife agents Sr. Cpl. Casey Zolper and K-9 Warden attended a week of quarterly training in Maryland March 18-22, joining Maryland Department of Natural Resources dogs and handlers to practice their tracking, evidence recovery and wildlife detection skills. Sr. Cpl. Zolper trained K-9 Warden to alert on the scent of river herring to help in locating illegally caught herring. As of this spring, Zolper and Warden have been partners for seven years. Since Warden joined the Enforcement Section in 2006, he and Zolper have tracked missing people and evasive suspects, located key evidence in wildlife conservation and criminal cases, and represented the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section in public demonstrations of Warden’s specialized skills.

Are you AWARE?
With signs of spring in the air, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section and the Delaware Office of Boating Safety would like to remind early season boaters and anglers of the importance of life jackets. “Statistics show that not wearing life jackets is one of the leading causes of boating fatalities in the state of Delaware as well as nationwide, and that 80 percent of these fatalities could have been prevented by life jacket use,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Delaware Boating Safety Office. “Like seatbelts in automobiles, we know without question that life jackets save lives.”

In Delaware, life jackets also are the law – and the law requires that owners/operators of recreational vessels carry one readily accessible life jacket for each person aboard, and that children age 12 and younger wear a life jacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters. (Minimum fine for violations: $76.50)

“Vessel operators are responsible to make sure that children aboard their boat are wearing life jackets – and they can set the example by also wearing one,” Sgt. Rhodes said. “Although the law does not require ages 13 and older to wear a life jacket, we strongly recommend life jacket use by everyone aboard a vessel in Delaware waters, especially anyone with limited swimming skills. It’s a smart choice that can prevent an unnecessary tragedy.”

Even on days when the air is warm, boaters also should remember that water temperatures are still cold – currently 43 to 45 degrees, Sgt. Rhodes said, noting that immersion in cooler water can lead to hypothermia very quickly, in which the body instinctively protects its core by shutting down blood flow to limbs first. The Coast Guard recommends wearing layers for protection and warmth, including gloves and a hat. Recommended gear also includes a floatation coat or survival suit, which also acts a life jacket, or a dry suit, which keeps water out and, with thermal layers beneath, keeps warmth in. 

Sgt. Rhodes added these tips:

  • If you fall overboard or capsize, stay with your boat for a better chance of being found sooner.
  • Keep clothing on to help retain heat.
  • Keep your cell phone in a secure pocket and sealed in a plastic bag.
  • Carry a personal position locator beacon, a personal emergency locator light and/or flares, and a whistle to make noise and attract the attention of rescuers.
  • Pack a set of dry clothing in a sealed plastic bag.
  • File a “float plan” with a responsible friend or family member. Include a description of your boat, when you plan to head out, who is going with you, where you plan to go and when you plan to return.  

“Filing a float plan is always a good idea, because unforeseen circumstances can hit boaters in any season at any time, including a storm, engine problems, swamping, and injuries or other health issues,” Sgt. Rhodes said. “With your plans in hand, a friend or family member can call for help if you’re overdue and tell searchers where to begin looking for you, saving precious time.” 

For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including an easy-to-use float plan form, please visit www.fw.delaware.gov/Boating/BoatingSafety.htm.

 The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx .

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902, or Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement, 302-542-6102. 

Vol. 43, No. 118

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Division of Public to Open Two Medical Needs Shelters at William Penn and Cape Henlopen High Schools

DHSS Press Release Date: October 27, 2012
DHSS-122-2012

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

The Delaware Division of Public Health announced today that it will open two medical needs shelters on Sunday, October 29, 2012 at noon Sunday at William Penn High School, 713 E. Basin Road, New Castle, and Cape Henlopen High School, 1250 Kings Highway, Lewes.

A partnership with the Delaware National Guard, the Medical Needs Shelters provide safe and temporary housing to individuals who require support with their medical needs. These shelters are for people who cannot be accommodated in regular shelters.

Individuals at the shelters can expect sleeping accommodations, food and trained medical staff who can assist with medical needs. Medical shelters cannot take the place of a hospital and are intended for those who have minor medical conditions that are stable and require daily assistance. Examples include assistance with medicine administration, changing wound dressings or helping the oxygen dependent.

Caregivers must accompany the individual to the Medical Needs Shelter. Items to bring include:

· Durable medical equipment and oxygen tanks;
· All medication and supplies;
· Personal items;
· Any special foods or liquids for dietary needs;
· Important documents such as phone numbers and insurance information.

Only service animals are allowed in the shelter. No other pets will be admitted. For further information, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/files/medneedspi.pdf. Emergency contact number is 1-888-295-5156.


Delaware Bans Dangerous Drugs Known As “Bath Salts”

Gov. Markell SpeaksGovernor Jack Markell announced at a news conference today that Delaware has banned the dangerous stimulants commonly known “bath salts” now making them illegal in Delaware.

Early this afternoon, Secretary of State Jeff Bullock signed an “emergency rule” adding the compound of drugs known as “bath salts” to Delaware’s Schedule I of Controlled substances, following a recommendation by the Controlled Substances Advisory Committee. The order will be in effect for 120 days, with a 60-day extension possible. That gives the Delaware General Assembly, which re-convenes in January 2012, enough time to pass legislation banning the drugs permanently.

Today’s action empowers state law enforcement agencies to treat bath salts the same as other harmful illegal drugs, which means those who possess and, more importantly, those who sell bath salts will now face criminal penalties.

“These are not what people traditionally think of as bath salts that are added to a bath. This is a new designer drug sold in small vials or tins. People are getting sick, suicidal and very, very violent. These drugs are nasty and dangerous,” said the Governor. “If you know someone who has been abusing ‘bath salts,’ get them help,” said Governor Markell. “If you have the drug in your home or business, take it to the nearest Delaware State Police Troop and turn it in.”

Sec. of State Bullock Speaks“We are taking the unprecedented action of banning these drugs using a little known, but very powerful law, to immediately make them illegal to sell or possess,” said Secretary Bullock. “It’s an action we shouldn’t take lightly, but given the growing danger these drugs pose to our community, it is an action we need to take without delay.”

The Delaware Attorney General’s Office says two drug-related crimes are now applicable for bath salts: (Simple) Possession, which is a Misdemeanor level crime and Possession with the Intent to Distribute, which is a Felony level crime. The baseline Possession with the Intent to Distribute charge carries a sentencing range of 0-8 years in prison, and the seriousness of the charge and the corresponding sentencing range increases when aggravating factors are present such as prior offenses, resisting arrest, or committing a drug crime near a school or park – in certain cases this charge can carry minimum mandatory jail time.

“We’re working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to quickly develop a game plan to enforce this ban and take specific action to ensure that these dangerous drugs are kept off the streets,” said Brian Robertson, Deputy Attorney General.

Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown is currently developing legislation that will be introduced when the General Assembly returns in January.

“This designer drug became an issue in my district and I’ve been working with various stakeholders to develop legislation allowing us to make bath salts controlled substance as well as working with families on finding treatment options,” Hall-Long said. ”As a nurse I am all too aware of the negative consequence this has on our public’s health and the injuries to patients who have used bath salts as well as their violent acts against nurses, police and other first responders”.

An emergency room nurse at Christiana Hospital, Rep. Rebecca Walker has seen the effects bath salts have had on people and is working with the Attorney General’s office to draft legislation permanently banning the substance.

“This phenomenon has popped up in the last few months and now it’s become a daily problem in all three counties,” said Rep. Walker, D-Middletown. “People have presented to all the emergency departments in the state under the influence of these bath salts and are so out-of-control and violent that they’ve injured nurses and EMS providers, making it difficult to provide the necessary treatment. My biggest concern is for members of the community who may be violently attacked. We can’t wait until January to address this. Banning this substance is the right thing to do, and I’m grateful to everyone for taking action today.”

Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss”, these products are comprised of a class of chemicals which can mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD, MDMA and/or methamphetamine. The chemicals used to produce “bath salts” – mephedrone, methylone, and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) –have a high potential for abuse. The Federal Food and Drug Administration has not approved these chemicals for human consumption or for any medical use, and there is no oversight of their manufacture.

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